A virus is upending our lives. We fear any moment the invisible killer will find us. It makes me think of the Jews in Amsterdam, and the rest of Europe, where families hid in attics or barns. They worried about being killed by mass murderers called Nazis. We are worried about being killed by an invisible mass murderer or, if we are lucky, we’ll get only a mass sickness to which we will recover. Crammed in an attic for months or years, fearing every movement might reveal their hiding place must have been a daily stress if not torture. For us there is no place to hide. When groceries are delivered to us, they may contain the virus, or not.
I wonder now that I am on edge, how did those Jews manage to keep themselves sane for months and years? How horrible the hiding must have been not knowing it could be years in hiding? Fearing every day may be their last. And I worry will this invisible scourge kill me?
For people under 60 it is not quite so fearsome. If they get sick, chances are they will get well. If they get very sick and need a ventilator, they may get one. But at my age, over the hill and sliding down the other side on slick black ice, there will be no ventilator.
I take a walk for fresh air in the biting cold and feel better when I come in. I see tiny blue flowers on a neighbor’s lawn, bright harbingers of spring. I wave to strangers in the street who wave back, keeping their distance. I am still alive today. But I am writing letters to my children, just in case, hoping they will keep the letters after I’m gone. I shall not send the letters. Not yet. After all, what if I don’t die? What then? What will I do with the letters?